There are a lot of real estate investors in the world today. A great deal of them pour their heart, soul, money and years of their lives into this endeavor and get nowhere with it.

At the same time, there are a select few who have made it HUGE in the business of real estate, hitting one grand slam after another, month after month, year after year.

Being a real estate blogger, I’ve been fortunate enough to cross paths with some of these individuals from time to time. I recently reached out to some of these friends and acquaintances and asked them what they thought about this particular issue.

Specifically, this is what I asked them:

Why Are Some Real Estate Investors More Successful Than Others?

What are successful investors doing that unsuccessful investors need to learn from?

As you’ll see, there were some differing opinions on what the most pressing issues were, but there was also a common theme regarding the areas where new investors tend to struggle.

I’d love to hear your answer to the same question in the comments below.

Here they are (in no particular order):

Chris Clothier, Brian BurkeClaude Diamond, Steve Cook, Preston Ely, JP Moses, Shaun McCloskey, Justin Lee, Joshua Dorkin, Robert Griswold, Ali Boone, Frank Gallinelli, Marty Boardman, J Scott, Brandon Turner, Danny Johnson



joshdorkin“I believe that there are a few important factors that contribute to successful investors making things happen and standing out above others.  Most importantly, those investors, over the long haul, are the ones who are focused on learning.  Real estate and the economy are dynamic things, and in order to remain successful over time, you need to understand how things work, what’s changing, and you must be flexible enough with your strategies to adapt. That takes knowledge in various buying and exit strategies.  Winging it may sound like a good way to proceed, but rarely results in long-term success.  The successful investors are also running their real estate investments as a business; they manage their portfolio and strategies with a formula and with a definite plan.  The vast majority of investors that I see leaving the business do so because they were bound to fail from the start due to a lack of planning and education.  There is definitely some luck involved, but you can’t build an empire on luck . . . the more of the other factors that line up in your favor, the better your luck, I believe.”

Follow Joshua on Twitter or learn more at



Steve Cook“Those that take the “right” actions vs. those who take the wrong actions, or not action at all.

Many appear to be passionate and giving their all, but they don’t do the things that make investors money. Instead they’re looking for the next pill, the magic formula, or the better idea rather than simply employing tried and true methods of investing. Many simply make excuses. As a teacher I’ve heard them all. I’ve been told hundreds of times why what I do won’t work, and people really try to convince me of it. That leads me to believe that the actions we take are dictated by what we believe. If you don’t believe it will work, then you’ll not take the actions that will actually produce results, and if you do believe that it works, you’re going to take the actions that will produce results.

No matter how you cut it, it’s a mind game, and many people simply get in their own ways.”

Follow Steve at or learn more at



griswold“Successful investors realize that location is only the first step in evaluating the optimal rental real estate property for them. An equally important step is to understand and excel at the important aspects of property management, specifically the product preparation, marketing, advertising, tenant selection, and rent collection. You do this by either mastering these skills yourself and self-managing a property in your area, or by hiring a professional property management company that exclusively works with owners like yourself and does not get involved with sales.”

Check out Robert’s book Property Management Kit for Dummies and learn more about his property management company at



Claude Diamond“Hunger.

Max, My Mentor said it best ” Everyone wants to become rich but few are willing to pay the price”

The price was not money but the desire or hunger to excel. To learn the strategies and sales skills necessary to make as much as you want, whenever you want without any need of personal financial resources.

Very few are willing to pay that price. Very few have that hunger.”

Follow Claude on Twitter or learn more at



McCloskey“The biggest difference between those who are successful and those who aren’t can almost always be boiled down to one sentence. “You must become consistent in being a massive action taker.”

The students I have that are doing really well don’t spend 6 months planning out everything before actually taking action. They have a general idea of a plan and they start taking action. And not just a little bit of action, they take massive action… The successful ones also model others who are already successful. They don’t try to reinvent the wheel because they think they have a better way. The truth is, the don’t have a better way yet until they’ve committed to trying what we already know works. The way we know it works is to try it first, then decide… Finally, the successful ones are consistent with their efforts. I sometimes get students that say they tried my marketing techniques and they just don’t work. When I dig a little deeper, I find out that they’re saying it doesn’t work because they tried to send out 20 mailers to motivated sellers in one day and they only got one call from their efforts. Since that phone call didn’t turn into a deal, all of a sudden the marketing just doesn’t work, so they never send direct mail again. This is ludicrous. Everything in business takes consistent results…

The one sentence above pretty much sums it up. Consistent actions will get you there. But not only consistent actions… you must take the right actions. You can take all of the action in the world, but if you’re doing the wrong things, you can still get bad results. Because of this, invest in your education. But don’t overdo it either! You must take action on what you learn, otherwise, you’ll end up being “that guy” who goes to every seminar in the country and never does a deal.”

Follow Shaun on Twitter or learn more at



prestonely“The investors who succeed are the ones who have trained their mind for success. They are very driven, goal oriented, positive, strong, and ultra-determined. Their self-confidence is through the roof. The ones who don’t succeed are the ones who havent taken the time to work on themselves or gain the necessary life-skills to succeed at ANYthing, let alone real estate.”

Follow Preston on Twitter or learn more at



“Real estate investing, just like any other business, is all about lead generation.

At the top of that list comes generating leads of motivated sellers; in other words, finding lots of great deals. After that comes generating buyer leads (cash buyers if you plan on wholesaling), and also leads from private lenders.

Too many times I see students spending so much time & money on “getting educated”, that they have so much “book smarts” but have never spoken to a single seller in their life! Remember, if the phone doesn’t ring, or you can’t generate a lead, then you can’t buy/flip a house, and close a deal.

If there’s one thing all of the successful real estate investors do, they all have a lead machine cranking where they are constantly analyzing deals and making offers.”

Follow Justin on Twitter or learn more at



jp1“One of the biggest reasons so many investors ultimately die trying is because of their inner demons, plain and simple. Whether its fear of failure, fear of success, analysis paralysis, feeling overwhelmed, lacking confidence, lack of fierce determination…fill in the blank with some form of self-sabotage, and you’ve got it for most folks.

Sadly mindset seems typically given a backseat or side-car at best to learning real estate tactics and techniques. But slaying those dragons of the mind is absolutely, positively, without any shadow of doubt the most important thing any investor should learn to master, and the biggest difference between those who win big and those who never make it happen.”

Follow JP on Twitter or learn more at



Profile-Picture-bw-PNG“Luck. But I don’t mean in the normal sense of the word. I truly do believe that luck is the driving force – after all, we were “lucky” to live in a country where all this is possible, lucky to have interest rates so low that cash flow is easy, lucky to have certain deals put in front of us. However, as the quote made famous by film producer Samuel Goldwyn, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” I firmly believe that getting this luck comes down to putting oneself out there and making it happen. No one is going to get lucky in real estate while playing Call of Duty on a PS3. However, if you are engaging in the business and working your tail off, luck is bound to find you, followed by success.”

Follow Brandon on Twitter or learn more at



ChrisClothier“I think its important that investors have a bit of levity to their approach to investing. I’m not sure if there are any steps that make one investor succeed and another fail, but often the approach is different. Success takes time, focus, energy, hard work and a little luck along the way. So often an investor who is struggling may either think it all luck that leads to success and the discount the hours of education, toil and effort or they will think that only the most connected and wealthy people are the ones being successful which again discounts the fact that nearly every successful investor started out at the same spot. Rather than wondering why or how someone else found success, they simply went to work and followed the steps of successful investors before them.”

Follow Chris on Twitter or learn more at



gallinelli“From what I have been able to see, the first trait of successful investors is the same as for successful people in all endeavors: hard work…  The second trait is one that truly separates the successful from the dreamers: preparation, or more specifically, a willingness to learn first and act second…  Perhaps the final trait I would emphasize is the ability to identify and set investment objectives… I don’t doubt that there are additional characteristics that we could identify, but I believe that anyone who would focus on these three – a willingness to accept the reality that success requires hard work, a serious commitment to education, and the discipline to identify and pursue specific investment goals – should be well on their way to attaining success as a real estate investor.”

Learn more about Frank’s company at and check out his three books: Mastering Real Estate Investment10 Commandments for Real Estate InvestorsWhat Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Know About Cash Flow



danny“The biggest reason why some investors become successful while others can’t seem to make any sort of headway, is simply due to their mindset.   I think successful investors had more of a reason to work hard enough to push through their fear and self-doubt and take action to get started.  It’s awfully easy to just stay in your comfort zone and keep learning while never really doing anything. 

Among those that actually do take action and get started, I think the ones that make it realize and focus on the fact that it really is all just a numbers game.  Get enough leads and you will get good deals.  If you are having a hard time finding a deal, you aren’t getting enough or looking at enough leads.  Yes, it takes a lot, but it becomes easier as you gain experience.  Be persistent and success is sure to follow.”

Follow Danny on Twitter or learn more at



Brian-Burke1“I think that some are unsuccessful in this industry because they are afraid to take the necessary steps to build to success. Instead, they just want it now! It is very rare to achieve instant success in this business, or in any other business for that matter. It takes time, experience, and track record to build a successful business. Along the way, there will be setbacks, and the people who eventually succeed are able to overcome these obstacles and use them to their advantage to leverage themselves into greater success. If you give up, success will elude you. Successful investors aren’t greedy. Well, they are in a way, as fear and greed are the driving forces behind most investment transactions, but successful investors realize the value of sharing their success with others as a way to achieve scale. For example, I first built my track record, and next I built my business. I took on capital partners and shared the wealth, which allowed me to achieve scale beyond my imagination. If I were greedy and wanted to keep it all for myself, I’d still be operating a much smaller business.”

Learn more about Brian’s company Praxis Capital at



Boardman“Real estate investing is a business, not a hobby. Hobbies are expensive. The biggest reason people fail in real estate investing is they don’t take it seriously. I consider houses a commodity. I’m like a stock market day trader, except the assets I buy and sell have four walls and a roof (hopefully). In order to succeed I must have a complete understanding of the local housing market and the laws of my state and federal government. This requires spending time and money on education. Over the years I’ve invested thousands on books, CDs, and classes – covering topics from accounting to personal development. Real estate investing is a profession. Like doctors, accountants and attorneys I must remain up to date on the latest issues and trends in the industry.”

Follow Marty on Twitter or learn more at



aliboone“I think the difference between successful and unsuccessful real estate investors is what they do with the difficulties they encounter. Everyone is going to hit the same obstacles, but the successful investors challenge them, learn from them, and move past them while the unsuccessful investors assume they are stuck and quit.”

Follow Ali on Twitter or learn more at



J_Pic“I believe there are two key characteristics of real estate investors who tend to be most successful:

1.  Successful investors *PLAN* their strategy upfront.  While it doesn’t need to be a formal business plan, the most successful investors will take the time to think about and write down their plan before they start investing.  Not only does this help them generate a cohesive strategy before they jump in, it helps them answer a few basic questions early on, including:

  • Do I really even want to be doing this?  I remember when I first started investing, I wrote a business plan for starting a large-scale rental company.  By the time I finished the plan, I realized how much I *DIDN’T* want to be in that business.
  • How will I deal with the money situation?  It’s important to figure out how much you’ll need, where you’ll get it, what you’ll do if you run out, etc.  The biggest road-block even successful investors eventually run into is cash flow problems — not having the money they need when they need it.
  • Where are my knowledge gaps?  You don’t know what you don’t know.  And by putting your plan down on paper, you’ll be forced to ask yourself some questions you didn’t even realize you needed the answers to.

 2.   Successful investors spend as much time working *ON THEIR BUSINESS* as they do working *IN THEIR BUSINESS*.  That means focusing on how to grow your company, scale your projects and make your business more efficient.  While it’s important to be involved in the day-to-day aspects of your investments, what will ultimately make your company successful is creating and implementing a longer-term strategy that will allow your business to grow and thrive.”

Follow J on Twitter or learn more at

Now It’s Your Turn.

I’d love to hear your answers to these questions in the comments section below.

(And if you’re new here, you can connect with me on Twitter or Facebook. Be sure to come back again soon and let me know how I can help you!)

Why do you think some real estate investors are more successful than others?

The Best Real Estate Investing Strategy I’ve Found

I'll be completely honest with you. The most powerful strategy I've used to build my real estate investing career is probably NOT what you might guess.

Land investing (that's right, buying and selling vacant land) is a massive opportunity that most investors aren't paying attention to. For the few land investors who know how to pursue this business with the right acquisition strategy, it's an extremely lucrative and low-risk way to build serious wealth from real estate.

If you want to get the inside scoop on how to start and run your own land investing business, come and check out the REtipster Club – where I've put together a full 12-module course with dozens of videos, bonuses, downloads, group coaching sessions and a members-only forum (where we spend time answering questions every week). There is no better place to learn this business from the inside out!

About the author

Seth Williams is a land investor with hundreds of closed transactions and nearly a decade of experience in the commercial real estate banking industry. He is also the Founder of - a real estate investing blog that offers real-world guidance for part-time real estate investors.

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  1. jp moses says:

    Hi, Seth – great post! I loved reading the input from all the different thought leaders in our industry, and I’m honored to be considered among them. Thanks for asking, and for serving your readers well.

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Thanks again for your input JP – I appreciate you taking the time to share your wisdom with us!

    2. Jonathan Rummey says:

      Thanks Seth
      It is a great encouragement, to me as a new investor, to know that I am on the right track. As I go forward, the right systems will come together, taking me to the next level, with determination to make it to the top.

      1. Seth Williams says:

        You’re welcome Jonathan! I’m glad you took some encouragement from this.

  2. J Scott says:

    Seth –

    Great post…I’ll be linking this from my blog in the coming days…everyone should be reading this great info from those in our industry who are really doing it. I’m honored to be part of the group!

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hey J! Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with the group. I always appreciate getting insights from real guys like yourself.

  3. Brian Burke says:

    Hi Seth, thanks for inviting me to be a part of this post, I’m humbled to be in such esteemed company.

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Thanks for your giving us a taste of your expertise Brian – your feedback was awesome!

  4. Ned Carey says:

    This is a great post Seth. I am fortunate to know three of these guys personally and they are all top notch.

    I think Steve Cook’s and Frank Gallinelli’s comments say it best.
    “Those that take the “right” actions vs. those who take the wrong actions, or not action at all”
    “truly separates the successful from the dreamers: preparation, or more specifically, a willingness to learn first and act second…”

    I will add something no one else has mentioned: Habit. I truly believe that successful people are successful because they are in the habit of taking the actions that lead to success. To Steve Cook’s point successful people are in the habit of taking the “Right” actions.

    1. Seth Williams says:

      I agree Ned – action (and consistency) is such a huge part of success. Thanks for weighing in on this!

  5. Danny Johnson says:

    Hey Seth!

    Thanks for inviting me to be a part of this awesome collection of advice for people just getting started flipping houses. I am definitely sharing this.

    It’s really something to see some of the people whose advice I used when I was getting started and throughout my years investing taking part in this post.

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Thanks for taking part in this post Danny, it’s great to hear your take on this.

  6. Glenn Espinosa says:

    GREAT post Seth!!

    You are in company of some really big players. Thanks for picking their brains for us newer investors!

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Thanks for your stopping by Glenn! I was lucky to get so much feedback on this topic – it helped me learn a thing or two in the process. 🙂 Hopefully others can glean some new insights too.

  7. Jason Merchey says:

    Impressive compilation of wisdom! I love “the wisdom tradition,” whereby one looks to others to try to cut down on the steep learning curve. In anything – investing, weight loss, philosophy – you have to do a lot of work before seeing much in the way of results. If you start on the right path, then, like the proverb about success being a journey of a thousand miles that begins with a single step, then you will succeed using your hard work and diligence (assuming luck is on your side – after all, sometimes a thousand mile journey ends in a truck hitting you). The point I am making is that you have to figure out the destination of this 1,000-mile journey, and you have to avoid wrong turns, pitfalls, and distractions. To engage in the wisdom tradition, then, is to try to learn from others and from general knowledge pools how to best proceed. You might find that the best way to take a 1,000-mile journey is to wear certain boots, or take plenty of water, or heck – hitch a ride on a train for 250 of the miles! I like where you went with this, Seth.

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Thanks Jason! I can tell you’ve got a great mind for this kind of thinking. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with us.

  8. Jason Lavis says:

    I love this post, as I moved down the page I was heartened to see that what we had was a list of core values and principles of success. These values and principles have been applied to real estate investing but they apply equally any kind of success, from weight loss, to moving up the corporate ladder, or even achievement in a hobby. Good stuff

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Thanks for checking out the blog Jason – you’ve got some good work going on yours as well!

  9. Chris Clothier says:

    Seth –

    Your article turned out very nice! I had no idea you had gathered so many thought leaders into one post. Great stuff and I will definitely spread the word on this post and for your site. Let me know if I can ever do anything for you.

    All the best – Chris

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Thanks Chris – I’m glad you were able to participate. Thanks again for your input!

  10. Ali Boone says:

    I love it Seth! Article turned out great. I love the collage of pictures at the beginning… makes us all look like a big happy investor family! 😉

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Thanks Ali – I appreciate your input (and the tweet)!

  11. Lou says:

    Seth thanks for sharing this nuggets from some of the leaders in the field of real estate investing. It was very helpful and timely. Keep up the great work and I always look forward in reading your articles. Again thanks.

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Thanks Lou! I appreciate you checking out the blog. I hope to see you back here again soon. 🙂

  12. Nicole says:

    This was such a pleasure to read. Thank you everyone for posting and being willing to share. I think the most encouraging thing is to see a relatively consistent message between the post.

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Thanks Nicole – I really enjoyed hearing from everyone as well. There are a lot of important lessons we can glean from the folks who have gone out there and made it happen.

  13. Patsy says:

    This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.
    I have joined your feed and look forward to
    seeking more of your wonderful post. Also, I’ve shared your web site in my social networks!

  14. RJ Bryan says:

    Awesome post Seth,
    You definitely picked a qualified group of people to answer you question.

    I know when Im working with a good/ successful investor when I can see that they have a plan, educated on their market and are consistent.
    Unsuccessful investors are fickle and disorganized. There is too much information and people involved with real estate deals for an investor to be disorganized and unsure of what they want/can afford.

    Thats my 2 cents 🙂
    – RJ

    1. Seth Williams says:

      That’s an awesome insight RJ, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I can tell you’ve been around this game for a while, I’ve noticed the same kind of behavior in the investors who are unsuccessful.

  15. jeff akstin says:

    Great Stuff Seth

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Many thanks Jeff!

  16. Renee Riker says:

    This is a great article Seth. Love all of the feedback. In addition to what was already mentioned, I think some investors are more successful than others because they have patience, tenacity and drive to push through whatever obstacles come their way and they are just determined to make it happen. And they aren’t afraid to ask questions along the way and they treat everyone with respect (buyers, sellers, business partners). You need to educate yourself to some degree but you must also take action. I remember my first land deal I told my husband I’m going to spend $3,600 on a piece of land that I may never sell but it’s a risk I’m willing to take. Thankfully he was supportive and it sold for $8,500 on terms at 9% for a 200% ROI at the end of the loan. That was the beginning 6 years ago and I love this niche to this day. I had to learn everything ‘from scratch’…setting up an LLC, 800#, websites, learn what a squeeze page was, figure out owner-financing, email marketing, how to do a mail merge, learn how to do the math, etc. When I look back I can see the accomplishment and now thankfully I have a pretty well-oiled machine for a part-time business and I’m still continuing to grow/learn/change. Thanks for everything Seth. I’ve enjoyed collaborating w/you over the years 🙂

    1. Seth Williams says:

      It’s great to hear your perspective on how you got to where you are today Renee. When you tell it like that, it really is amazing how much we’ve both learned over the years (and I’m not surprised it actually took YEARS to get there). It’s been great learning along the way with you!

  17. Eddie Freeman says:

    I think that some investors are more successful than others , because of prior knowledge of the area and the properties they wish to purchase. I also think that the ones that actually fits the things that wrong with any given property will be successful in the long term.

  18. david says:

    hello, with so many so called gurus/experts out there, what makes your program and coaches different and/or better? in all due respect. I’ve been through few courses and been disappointed every damn time, never fails how these people just come through. thanks

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi David – the first difference is that I don’t have a course and I’m not really asking for your money. About 99% of what I have to offer is free – right here on the blog. I also allow people to contact me directly on my “Contact” page above (and I read/respond to every person that contacts me). I don’t think you’ll find this kind of thing from most of the gurus/experts out there.

      If you have any more specific questions, just let me know.

    2. Eurica Dick says:

      Hey Seth,
      Love the response , I believe that investing in real estate is safe once you know what you are in for, I have been learning for almost 2 years now , and am ready to go forth. I’m mostly interested in land investing and wholesaling , I believe with time everything will fall into place once you just focus and do not up into other so call guru who believe that they have a better program where you’ll succeed faster.For me confidence and determination will get you there. …

      1. Seth Williams says:

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts Eurica – keep moving forward!

  19. Randy says:


    The thing I have found in my studies is those who are a student of the business as well as taking the right massive consistent actions are the ones who succeed. Like I mentioned I am a student of the business and the common threads I see that keep popping up are…

    1. Marketing; ie: Lead generation.

    2. Continued education in lead generation.

    3. Consistent massive action. (I’m getting better at this one! Lol)

    4. Shock value, pattern interrupts (Great way to get ideas to set ones self apart)

    5. Honesty with a bit of, “You need me more than I need you. However, we definitely need each other.”

    6. Genuinely having the clients best interest at heart but also letting them know you are a business person and are in this as a business.

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Those are some great insights! Thanks for sharing Randy!

  20. Hosea Smith says:

    It all boils down to how bad do you want it. It’s imperative to get your education first, learn what you’re doing and then “TAKE MASSIVE ACTION” you will see results if you don’t give up.

    Follow those who are successful and mimic them, but remember this takes time, you can’t be a success over night. You have to employ the right mind-set to succeed and success is just around the corner.

    Remember this if you want to be SUCCESSFUL: “Failure will never overtake thee if thy determination to succeed is strong enough.”


    1. Seth Williams says:

      Great thoughts, thanks for sharing Hosea. I tip my hat to you for staying in the fight!

  21. Daniel F. Harb says:

    Excellent work, Seth!
    You know I am a week and a half new to your REtipster Club. 😁 It is true, it is what the person BRINGS to the program. What you put into it, you get out of it. It’s like life, love, relationships, investing…. Everything!
    Amazing to have a community of like minded, Super~Achievers! I look forward to the coming weeks and years in the “Club” Thank you, Seth, for all your hard work and talk soon.

    Truly, the more you give, the more you get!
    Best to all!

    Daniel F. Harb, ARRT, RT, (R)

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Daniel! I’m PUMPED you’re getting so much out of the REtipster Club – that’s great to hear!

      1. Daniel F. Harb says:

        Thank you, Seth!
        Honestly, it FUELS me that you have such an open door, there is not a day that goes by that I am not sharing your program!
        I’ll say it again, it speaks VOLUMES about you, your business, and your sterling integrity.

        Bravo and well done!


        1. Amazing! Thanks again for the kind words Daniel!

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